Eye health is one of the most important aspects of overall health. The daily use of screens and exposure to blue light can impact eye health, making proactive care essential for long-term healthy vision. With the right nutrients, you can help protect eye cells from the harsh effects of blue light and promote complete vision health.
There are certain nutrients that help support eye health. In order to produce the sharp eyesight humans rely on, the eyes have a higher metabolic rate than most people realize, which means there is more exposure to occasional oxidative stress.
When looking to promote eye health, protect against typical oxidative cellular damage, and reduce age-related vision issues, there are important foods to include in your diet.
Vitamin C is one of the best nutrients for eye health, and citrus fruits, such as oranges and limes, are packed full of vitamin C. This essential vitamin supports blood vessel health to promote healthy circulation to the eyes.
Oranges are also packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds that help protect vision cells from the harsh effects of blue light. The retina of the eye contains high concentrations of zeaxanthin, and by maintaining healthy levels, you can support retina health and reduce common age-related eye symptoms like hazy, blurred, or double vision.
Mostly, the high antioxidant content in berries helps reduce typical oxidative stress to promote healthy vision. The antioxidants in berries also help support healthy eye lubrication to help with occasional eye strain and fatigue. Blueberries, in particular, contain powerful compounds that are also vasoprotective, which help maintain the strength of the blood vessels in the eye. Some berries, like strawberries, also contain vitamin C to support eye health.
Tropical fruits such as bananas and mango are also beneficial to eye health. Bananas contain carotenoids that support the health of the eye’s surface for proper visual acuity. Other tropical fruits, like mango, are full of vitamin A, an essential vitamin for eye health, supporting contrast sensitivity and focus during the day and night.
Fruits are not the only foods that provide essential nutrients for eye health. Several eye-protecting nutrients can be found in vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
♦ Spinach: This dark leafy green is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two essential nutrients found in the macula. These compounds support macular health by reducing typical oxidative stress in and around the eye.
♦ Kale: Like spinach, kale is packed full of beneficial nutrients. Kale also contains high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin to support healthy vision. As part of a regular diet, kale can help reduce common age-related vision symptoms such as blurred or double vision. These carotenoids also support the health of the retina to maintain visual acuity.
♦ Flaxseed: Flaxseed contains ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), a form of omega-3 fatty acid. This is converted in the body into small amounts of the active omega-3s, DHA and EPA. These essential fatty acids are ideal for nourishing the eye.
Promoting eye health and long-term vision is easier than you may think. With a few key ingredients and a blender, you can have delicious, nutritious, eye-healthy smoothies. Each recipe below serves two.
1. Orange Apricot Smoothie
6 fresh apricots-medium size, pitted
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
1 cup plain kefir or yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
2-4 ice cubes
Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Divide into two glasses and serve right away. Enjoy.
2. Banana Blueberry Smoothie
1 ripe banana
2 kale leaves, stems removed
1 cup blueberries
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth, about 45 to 60 seconds. Chill briefly if desired. Serve immediately.
3. Very Berry Smoothie
2 cups mixture of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries
¼ cup almond milk (can substitute organic soy, rice, coconut or hemp milk)
½ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
In a heavy-duty blender, add the ingredients, secure the lid, and blend until smooth.
4. Mango Green Smoothie
1 ½ cups frozen mango pieces
1 ripe banana, cut into chunks
1 cup spinach
3/4 cup almond milk
Place all ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Your eyesight is one of your most important senses, with 80% of what we perceive coming from what we see. A healthy routine with balanced nutrition, regular eye examinations, and these delicious smoothies is the best place to start caring for your eyes. Being proactive about your eye health will help you promote long-term vision health, so you never lose sight of the things you love in this world.